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N. Korean man defects to S. Korea across border.

SEOUL, July 18 Kyodo

A North Korean man defected to South Korea early Friday in the eastern coastal area, according to the South Korean military authorities.

The man, identified only by his family name Park and believed to be in his 30s, surrendered himself to a South Korean military guard post at around 3:49 a.m.

Yonhap News Agency reported the man told investigators that he swam across the sea border and reached the southern guard post. He said he had decided to defect to escape hunger in his country.

Defections by sea from North Korea, or across the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, are rare. Most defectors come to the South via China after sneaking into that country from the North across the land border.

More than 500 North Koreans have defected to South Korea this year. Last year, 1,140 North Koreans defected to South Korea, up from 583 in 2001.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Jul 22, 2003
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